By Dr. Alicia Nolfi
Thrush is caused by an organism initially referred to as xerophilic Nectria, but now called spirochaeta. Both terms have destructive connotations, but they are simply low virulent organisms that have frog lysing properties when conditions allow them to multiply. Thrush starts along the sulci of the frog. The deep crevasse that appears periodically in a variety of foot stereotypes can harbor moisture and causative organisms that find it ideal for growth. The result is thrush.
The area is tender to a hoof pick but typically does not cause a lameness concern, unless deep tissues are affected. The unpleasant odor is typical of this organism.
Thrush can be successfully treated simply by cleaning up the foot with soapy, hot water and packing dry gauze in the deep confines to prevent air from getting to the deeper areas. I prefer to use a 50/50 solution of iodine and glycerin to treat thrush, as it doesn’t burn the tissue and quickly kills surface organisms.
Many products are available to treat thrush. Most are quite caustic. Application of effective tissue friendly products is always advised, versus the use of chemicals that burn or kill tissue.
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